A senior-laden Pettisville boys basketball team knew the opportunity it had in front of them, and seized that opportunity Friday when a late surge gave them a 35-34 victory over Archbold in a non-league contest.
The victory for the Blackbirds was the program’s first over the Blue Streaks since December of 2008. They improved to 6-4 on the season with the win.
“It’s a big win for us,” admitted Pettisville coach Brian Leppelmeier. “Program wise, we kind of call this the preseason. I know we’ve played one league game, but, it’s a nice springboard going into January. Because once you hit January 1, to me the season goes quickly. I think it’s good motivation for our kids and it’s not something that I think our kids are going to get lazy or anything like that. I think it’s a nice motivating win for our kids and they earned it. It was just a battle. They went out there and they earned that. It’s all for their hard work.”
For Archbold it was a game that got away, as they gave up a three-point lead in the final 44 seconds.
“Credit them,” said Blue Streak mentor Joe Frank. “They (Pettisville) had some kids step up that had not been scoring a lot for them. And made key plays. So you’ve got to give credit to the other team. Sometimes it’s easy to say what we didn’t do, but a lot of times, you also need to give credit for the guys on the other team who are doing things well.”
Archbold led 34-31 with 44 seconds to go after 1 of 2 at the foul line by Cade Brenner. But from there it was Pettisville that cashed in from the charity stripe.
The Birds’ Sean Adkins was hit on a putback attempt 27 seconds later and would nail both free throws, bringing them within one.
With Pettisville pressuring on the ensuing inbounds, they were able to force Brenner to step on the end line after catching the ball for a turnover. That happened with 15 seconds left, and just a second later when Pettisville inbounded the ball, the Streaks committed another mistake by fouling Cayden Jacoby on the catch. The senior went on to sink both attempts as the Birds grabbed the 35-34 lead.
The Blackbird defense was able to hold off the Streaks on its final offensive possession.
“We’ve got to learn from situations like this,” said Frank, referring to some of the mishaps in the waning moments. “When we have chances to execute sets, and to execute out of bounds plays, maybe we’ll take it a little bit more seriously because those can help you win or lose a game. And obviously it cost us tonight. I just told them, it wasn’t for a lack of effort. We played really hard, and so did the team that we played tonight…and they made one more play than we did.”
Pettisville went 10 for 10 in the fourth quarter from the foul line, a big reason they were able to get the win.
“You’ve got to get to the foul line and you have to make those,” Leppelmeier said. “Where Bryan (a 39-38 loss) we missed a few down the stretch last Thursday (Dec. 22) and that cost us a game on the road. Tonight, you had those opportunities and we need to cash in on those opportunities.”
Pettisville led 6-4 after one quarter by way of a Jaret Beck hoop in the final minute.
Archbold was able to grab a 10-8 lead at the 4:51 mark of the second quarter with the aid of 3-pointers hit by Asa Hudson and Evan Wendt. However, the Birds then responded as Jacoby split a pair at the line and Joey Ripke’s triple gave them a two-point edge with exactly four minutes left until halftime.
But the Streaks closed the half on a 7-2 spurt.
A Micah Nofziger putback plus Brenner’s floater put Archbold back on top. Beck re-tied it at 14 with a basket in the paint, then Chase Miller hit a trey in the closing seconds as Archbold led 17-14 at the break.
The two teams played to a 7-7 tie in the third as the difference remained three points.
“I thought it was probably our best complete game all year long. It was a battle. Our kids executed defensively. We worked on it all week long. And knew that they were gonna make some shots. Cade Brenner is such a great player. He’s gonna score. We just had to limit some other guys, not let them get in rhythm, get run outs, get transition threes. We just got to make it that halfcourt game and just kind of battle,” said Leppelmeier of the win.
Jacoby paced the Birds with 15 points, while Adkins added eight points. Brenner finished with a game-high 16 points for the Streaks.
Pettisville travels to Holgate this Friday for a Buckeye Border Conference matchup, then hosts Edgerton on Saturday. Archbold (5-4) travels to Bryan Thursday to open the Northwest Ohio Athletic League slate and hosts Hicksville on Saturday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.